China starts to reap autumn crops, while summer drought has little impact

By GT staff reporters (Global Times) 14:27, September 20, 2022

Chinese farmers have started reaping their autumn crops and they're making steady progress now, with little impact seen from the severe drought in major growing areas this summer. Although the heat waves did weigh on crop yields, the overall impact of the drought is limited, farmers and experts said.

So far, 170 million mu (11.33 million hectares) of the autumn crops have been harvested, completing more than 13 percent of the set target, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOA).

More than half of the autumn crops have been harvested in Southwest China. In the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and southern China, the harvested crops have accounted for approximately 20 percent. In Northeast China and regions along the Yellow River and Huaihe River, harvesting is sporadic so far, according to MOA.

Autumn crops have grown well in most areas despite the summer heat and severe drought, after wide-ranging measures were taken promptly to ensure irrigation, Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Rural Development Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.

"The harvest is proceeding smoothly and steadily from the south to the north, and it's in line with the schedule," Li said. A broader harvest is expected to arrive in early October.

Farmers in major producing areas, such as Northeast China and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, told the Global Times that the drought has had a limited impact on yields, and local governments have been taking active measures to ensure the harvest.

A farmer in Jingzhou, Central China's Hubei Province told the Global Times that the drought had mainly affected early rice, but that the government's efforts to divert water from the Yangtze River had helped the planting of other rice varieties, which will be harvested in mid-October.

Hu Dan, a salesperson in agricultural machinery in the province, said that the local government pumped water into the planting bases day and night at the height of the summer drought season, which ensured the irrigation of 20,000 mu of grain there.

More than 40 percent of the grain and 70 percent of the corn have been harvested in Hubei, and it's been better than expected, with major grain-producing areas on track to produce 40 billion tons of autumn crops, mostly rice, Hubei Television reported on Sunday.

According to the meteorological observatory on Sunday, the drought is expected to affect Central China's Hunan Province, East China's Jiangxi Province, Southwest China's Chongqing and Southwest China's Guizhou Province in the coming days.

Looking forward, the lasting drought will not have a major impact on the yield as they have entered the harvest season, experts said.

"The bulk of the autumn grain harvesting will come late September and early October, and the autumn crop production has basically settled. For harvesting, dry weather is not bad," Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of industry news website cngrain.com, told the Global Times on Monday.

(Web editor: Liang Jun, Du Mingming)


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